The garage was looking in a sorry state. It had no roof and even the brick walls were a little sad.

Having spoken to and had a visit from the structural engineer, we were ready to start putting it all back together. The structural calculations told us what beams, lintels and other structural elements needed to be fitted.

Original design plan and section
Original design plan and section

The new layout would consist of an open plan space to the right as you walked in. This would be the lounge/dining space. To the left would be the kitchen area and the shower room would be accessed through the kitchen. The larger open space would have stairs to the mezzanine  floor (above the kitchen and shower room) where the bedroom/sleeping area would be situated, from here you could look out over the lounge. The choice to keep the lounge more open was to create an illusion of space. The vaulted ceiling with roof lights would mean that the room was light.

The structural elements that needed to be added were the steel beam holding the roof, the lintel in the new window openings, the lintel over the door and windows and the joists to the mezzanine floor.

First the walls were built up by a few courses to match the height of the front of the garage. We were able to use recycled bricks from another wall we were removing (we are in the midst of an extension to the main house). Brick sizes have changed over time with the introduction of metric sizes and the imperial size bricks being discontinued. Depending on when your property was built, you may have either metric or imperial sizes. Older style bricks can be sourced with reclamation yards, ebay and local building projects but they tend to be more expensive. It is also important to match the colour and style of brick as much as possible or they will be obvious. You can use new bricks but be aware the the sizes will not match. Try to take a couple of sample bricks with you when looking for “new” bricks for your build.

Wall height raised
Wall height raised

You can see from the photo that the new bricks appear to have a different surface colour, but this is only due to weathering. The older, existing bricks can be pressure cleaned or the new bricks left to weather naturally.

The photo also shows that one of the windows next to the door has been filled with bricks. This was a slight design change from the original plans. Having looked at the loads that the mezzanine floor would exert onto the top of the left hand window by the door, we decided to not have the window at all but extend the wall. We didn’t have to do this. A larger and stronger lintel could have been used above the window but this would have then raised the mezzanine floor and given less head room in the sleeping area. This was a design choice.

New window
New window

A new window was cut into the wall for the shower room. The new windows to the shower room and the kitchen would be made taller by cutting out the brick work below.

Block work
Block work

At the end walls we needed to create the triangular section that would give us a pitched roof. These gables were originally planned to be formed out of timber but after the structural engineer visit and discussions about loads to the walls, block work was agreed. The blocks would be able to carry the load of the steel beam, roof and tiles down and into the wall evenly. At this point the new window opening in the gable was designed around the pattern of the blocks. It was quite convenient that the block work structure fitted the triangular gable so well.

When both ends were built up, the steel beam was due to be installed. We decided to insert the beam as a whole instead of in sections and bolt them together. The beam was too heavy for a person to handle so the company where we had it made, delivered and lifted the beam into place via a crane.

DSC_0594DSC_0596DSC_0608The steel beam was guided (thankfully very expertly) past the side of the house and onto the pad-stones that sat on the block work. The photo above also shows the lintel that spans the window.

The beam resting in place. You can also bee the wall plate in place ready to take the roof timbers.
The beam resting in place. You can also see the wall plate in place ready to take the roof timbers.

The building work is satisfying. To actually be putting the tiny house together rather than tearing it down is a much more positive place to be! With the beam resting on the tops of the walls the garage felt strangely different. It was beginning to take shape.


Please check out parts 1,2 and 3 of the Garage to Tiny House posts.

I have created a Tiny House Building book. It contains all the things about Tiny House building that have featured on this blog and more. It is available here.

I am an author of fiction, so there are also some chapter samples and short stories available on this blog too.

Thank you for reading and please join me again for the next part coming soon.